I drove to Mortdale earlier this week to visit a friend. I had no idea where Mortdale was – other than south – so I consulted my street directory. My street directory is an ancient, decrepit thing, missing its first 10 pages, including most of the “A” entries. Fortunately my friend’s street started with an R. I drove to Mortdale clutching my street directory in one hand and the steering wheel in the other. I got terribly lost. I kept pulling over to the side of the road, turning the street directory around and around hoping to make sense of it. The trip to Mortdale took 60 minutes. I believe it should only take 30-40 minutes. When I arrived, I apologised to my friend and explained I had trouble finding my way with my Gregory’s. And she was like: “Your what?” And I said, “You know, my street directory.” She laughed. She said people don’t use street directories any more, they don’t even print them these days.* A wave of panic swept over me. I made a mental note check eBay the moment I got home to see if it had them. (I can just see myself in 20 years time, hustling around antique book shops, snatching street directories out of marvelling youths’ hands and marching to the counter to pay $150 for them.) My friend asked if I had a GPS in my the car. No. She asked if I had a GPS-style function on my mobile phone. I said I didn’t think so. She smiled at me kindly, like I was a disoriented grannie she was helping at the local shops. I love my street directory. I’m gutted that they don’t make them anymore. I’ll be lost without one. Granted, I tend to be lost with one. But it comforts me to turn the pages. I love pages. People keep taking all the pages out of the world. It makes me sad.
*Fortunately it seems she just meant they don’t print Gregory’s street directories anymore. UBD is still on the case. Thank god.